Like wandering Odysseus, the Harvard hockey team has escaped the clutches of the Cyclopes in Maine and the Laestrygonians in New Hampshire; miraculously skirted disaster between the Scylla and Charibdis of upstate New ork; and finally returned home -- only to find a cocky band of pretenders, the icemen from Providence, waiting in Watson Rink to pose still another big test tonight.
Last year Brown handed Harvard two losses, and although the first was 4-3 in overtime the Bruins were clearly a better and more experienced teamBut Brown lost its three best players by graduation: Bob Gaudreau, a two-time All-America and the best in New England; forward Bruce Darling, who set an Ivy League career scoring record; and goalie Dave Ferguson, who tied with Cornell's Errol McKibbon in the balloting for first team All-Ivy.
Replacing this trio would be impossible, and Brown is accordingly a weaker team. Last year's freshmen, who lost twice to Harvard's club, 9-2 and 5-3, have contributed several good forwards, but nothing sensational.
The big Bruin sensation is captain Dennis Macks, Brown's leading scorer last year with 50 points and, at 5' 10"-260 lbs., a very solid hitter. Macks centers the first line, with a fellow Ontarian, Phil Moreland, on his left, and sophomore Bob Walsh at right wing.
Speedy Wayne Small, All-Ivy honorable mention last winter as a sophomore, centers a dangerous line and works well with right wing Bill McSween.
Other Bruin forwards are junior Bill Clarke, sophomore football fullback Steve Wormith, and junior Rich Sherman, who handcuffed B.C.'s star Paul Hurley with man-on-man defense last week.
Senior Gerry Boyle and junior Bob Rockwood head an experienced but no longer spectacular defense corps. Coach Jim Fullerton plans to give sophomore Mark Burns his first varsity start in the goal, but senior letterman Dick Rastani will be in reserve.
Harvard coach Cooney Weiland will stick with his sophomore goalie, Bill Diercks, in the Crimson's home opener. The remainder of the lineup will also resemble the setup Weiland employed over the weekend, with captain Dennis McCullough, Ben Smith, and Kent Parrot on the first line, and Bob Carr and Charlie Scammon starting at defense.
Brown is the immediate objective in the Crimson's climb up the Ivy ladder. Harvard plans to take over the Bruins' second place position of last year and shoot for topdog Cornell from there.
So far Brown has beaten Colby, 5-3, and Vermont 16-2. It has lost 5-4 to Northeastern in overtime, and 6-3 to Boston College in the only home game of the four.
The undefeated Harvard freshmen take on the undefeated Bruin Cubs at 4 p.m. in Watson Rink. Brown's three wins include a 5-1 upset of highly-touted Boston College, behind goalie Don McGinnis's 54-save performance.